I can remember swimming, but I can’t remember learning to swim. Instead I remember trunks and towels.
We would swim on holiday in the small Perthshire town of Aberfeldy. It has a sports centre with a 25 metre pool and every day on holiday we would go for a swim. We would get ready by grabbing our towel, folding it lengthwise in half and the rolling it up with our trunks inside. We’d then carry it under out arm up to the centre. We’d then unroll it, get changed and then repeat again on the way home – except this time our armpits would get wet because we’re carrying a soggy towel and trunks.
We never thought to use a bag. There was no need, once a towel was rolled up with your trunks then you didn’t need anything else. Not even goggles because for some reason our Dad didn’t believe in goggles. “You don’t need them”, he’d say, “If you duck your head under the water, it’ll sting for a minute but you’ll soon adjust.”
Which was okay for him to say as he only had one good eye. His other eye was damaged due to an operation in his thirties to cure an aneurysm. It was an operation that was so medically advanced he spent the rest of his life with doctors saying “I’ve never seen that before!”
He would start swimming without google and then say “you’ll get used it!”
I could never put my head under the water. I still struggle now when water gets into my goggles. I need to stop and clear it.
But I never got goggles. It never occurred to me. I was learning from my Dad so I just did what he did. Even if he was medical miracle who thought he was Aquaman and I was a boy scared of getting his head wet.
Today, I always wear goggles but I still keep my trunks in a rolled up towel.